Friday, February 26, 2010

Detroit has enough money in its coffers for 1/3 tear down

Bridging the gap in public and private fund, Detroit aims to demo some of its vacant properties that have brought increased blight to the city. Read more here

Detroit can afford to tear down at least 2,500 homes, council is told

By Suzette Hackney, 2/22/10
Detroit has the funding to tear down 2,500 to 3,000 of the roughly 10,000 dangerous houses that are on the demolition rolls, according to city officials.

About $14 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money and about $6 million from other funds will be used to demolish the homes, Karla Henderson, director of Detroit’s Buildings & Safety Engineering Department, told City Council this morning. It costs the city about $10,000 to demolish each single-family home.

“A lot of it comes down to funding,” Henderson said.

The city also is pursuing options to collect the cost of demolition from property owners.

Council members also said they want a better working relationship with the utility companies, which must shut down electricity, gas or water, before demolitions can begin. Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown suggested a task force to address the eight- to nine-month lag time it can sometimes take to cut off utility services.

But Councilwoman Brenda Jones said she would prefer the city use a computerized system to prioritize and track houses that have been on the demolition list for years.

Henderson said she was not confident that the housing information in the city’s current computer system is accurate.

“We are operating like 30 years ago,” she said.

Charles Beckham, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s group executive for operations, said a new system is 80% in place, and the city is just awaiting some additional software.

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